by Giovanna Bragaglia, Miwa Negoro, Camille Regli
The digital project inter:archive collaborates with VOLUMES to activate its archive by collecting material from a queer and intersectional standpoint. The selection includes speculative fictions, performative scripts, artist zines, picture books, photography booklets and other artist manifestos (see the list at the bottom of the page).
Initiated in 2020, inter:archive is a non-exhaustive, ‘particip-active’ project that seeks to shed light on the concept of ‘intersectionality’ – or ‘intersectional feminism’. In short, ‘intersectionality’ argues for the presence of not a single but overlapping oppressions based on social categorizations, such as gender, race, ethnicity, class, religion, sexuality, migratory status. Thinking intersectionally means to take ‘a lens through which you can see where power comes and collides, where it interlocks and intersects’ as stated by scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw, who first coined the term in 1989.
inter:archive started from the observation that more awareness and conversation on intersectionality needed to be addressed, in particular in Zurich, where only a few open sources focus on gender studies and intersectional theories. Hence, inter:archive aims to be a space for reading, listening, and engaging with the topic in an endeavor of care. It aims to be a space for learning and unlearning, for dismantling canonical references, triggering questions such as: How to enhance bodily experience as a way of knowing and unlearning? How to disorient normativity in knowledge sharing by developing an alternative library and an archive?
Reaching out to local entities, archives and initiatives, inter:archive gathered textual material in different forms, from seminal texts to artistic works and made it accessible on its open online platform here.
The collaboration with VOLUMES forms one of inter:archive’s main engagements. After hours spent at the archive, it resulted in a collection of publications that subtly relate to the topic. This activation also aspires to support VOLUMES in growing its archive further. Indeed, inter:archive is interested in going beyond the mere selection of publications and categorization. It wants to develop over time and engage further with the topic, i.e. by integrating more sources, interviews, readings, artist contributions, etc. – and shaping a sphere to imagine plural futurities.
In a nutshell, inter:archive collects the multiple voices that rise from literature and art to emancipate and highlight intersectional lived experiences.
The project is conceived by curators Giovanna Bragaglia, Miwa Negoro, and Camille Regli, as part of the curatorial programme of the OnCurating Project Space.
In Language is Skin: Scripts for Performances, Zurich-Berlin based artist and writer Romy Rüegger presents a collection of texts thought and written to be performed out loud. The artist works with sound-based practices and shared listening, interlacing and connecting multiple forms of voices and memories that are forgotten in historical narratives in the Swiss context.
Speculative fiction stories are present in Q by artist Ceylan Öztrük, and Dream Babes Zine 2.0 edited by London-based artist Victoria Sin. Q is constituted as a feminist linguistic manifesto, narrated in a magic realism genre and genderless linguistic, in which new pronouns are invented such as ‘om’, ‘os’, ‘oself’. Dream Babes Zine 2.0 is a collection of interviews, poems, texts and other creative writings that focus on speculative fiction as a genre that fosters safe space and literary emancipation.
Other zines included in the section are One Of My Kind #4 (OOMK), The Zine – to March, Clandestine Life of the BoycottGiiirls, and CASSANDRA 1: WHO IS CASSANDRA?
One Of My Kind #4 (OOMK) was created in 2015 by a London-based collective and collaborative publishing initiative formed by Rose Nordin, Sofia Niazi and Heiba Lamara. The zine focuses on identity politics, art, activism and faith – as described by OOMK. Their pages bring visual experiments alongside art contributions, interviews and engaged texts that carry both humour and activism. Every issue is focused on a different theme; the issue #4 focuses on the Internet, and is thematised creatively by 30 womxn artists and collectives.
The Zine – to March, Clandestine Life of the BoycottGiiirls is a creative response to the International Women’s Day 2017. Against the backdrop of the political situation and in solidarity with the worldwide protests of women against sexism, racism, violence, homophobia, religious intolerance, climate change and ecological inequality, Zurich-based curators Nadja Baldini, Dimitrina Sevova and Tanja Trampe invited artists and cultural practitioners to contribute one A4 landscape format spread each. The black and white prints of 94 contributions by womxn appear as a powerful collective manifesto.
CASSANDRA 1: WHO IS CASSANDRA? is an artist zine, published by CASSANDRA PRESS, an artist-run publishing and educational platform, initiated in 2016 by Williams in collaboration with artists Taylor Doran and Jordan Nassar. Creating lo-fi printed matter, the press features femme driven activism and engages with texts and thoughts by Black Scholarship. WHO IS CASSANDRA? is written by Taylor Doran.
The drawing book Mistress in Switzerland by artist Alina Kopytsa takes a glance at the lives of sex workers. In the facsimile edition of Kopytsa’s eponymous work from the series Service, the artist creates embroidered comics on textiles to express the experience of sex workers whom she interviewed in cities in Europe including Zurich, Berlin and Kiev. Together with the artist, we created a video or visual audio book here below. Flipping through the pages, you listen to Alina’s voice that narrates the embroidered illustrations.
Mistress in Switzerland
by Alina Kopytsa
published in 2017
Residing in the queer and kinky scene, Alina Kopytsa seeks a space for gender positivity through retrieving and narrating everyday intimate stories of hers and her companions. Her embroidery works aim at subverting normative boundaries, power relations, and positionality in sex, gender, and sexuality. They test a form of subordination and domination, and of fetishization and obsession. In doing so, the works embrace pleasure and desire, while at the same time examining a sense of intimacy, trust, or tension in bodily relationships. Her works are sensuous and playful. They are freeing themselves from heteronormative-patriarchal perception and monogamous fantasy.
Mistress in Switzerland (2017) is an erotic picture book: a facsimile edition of Kopytsa’s eponymous work from the series Service (2017-2019 - recently bought for the collection of City of Zurich). The artist narrates the stories of sex workers through embroidery drawings and texts on pink fabric: their feelings or conversations during the sexual services. Each scene is composed of simple but marked black lines and is framed within a square, like a comic, by a glued black fabric – perhaps a piece of a pantyhose or a memory of a transient sexual contact with customers.
The artist got to know the protagonists of these stories in Zurich, in parties, SM clubs, and elsewhere. She shared intimate moments with them, discussing, interviewing, drawing, and extracted their narratives stitching the scene. Bed sheets or underwear owned by the protagonists became the materials of the work as well as the book cover.
Kopytsa grew up surrounded by textiles and sewing machines in Poliske in the Kyiv region (Ukraine) in the nest of a family working in the textile industry for generations. The choice of textiles as her primary medium followed naturally. Sewing textiles is her artistic language but in a rather disruptive way, in which the needle penetrates the unhealed wounds and inflames the pains. Through such an act, the everyday emotions and sexual explorations are transformed into something tangible. Yet, the frank and delicate depiction of the situation in her work evokes the nuanced libido of different bodies, leaving room for imagination.
Text by inter:archive
Alina Kopytsa graduated in Bachelor Fine Arts from the Zurich University of the Arts in 2020. Previously she received her diploma in graphic arts from the National Kyiv Polytechnic Institute (2000-2006). Gender relations, sexual behavior, and fetishism are subjects of Kopytsa’s work which spans from textiles, sculptures to performances. Her work addresses social taboos, unveiling the possibility of a passionate sexual drive free from gender-political relations and social expectations.
Giovanna Bragaglia is an independent curator currently based in Berlin. She curated a various range of exhibitions and holds a particular interest in issues dealing with notions of hospitality in relation to the deterritorialized geography.
Camille Regli is a curator based in Switzerland, whose interest lies primarily in ‘small’ (as opposed to ‘grand’) narratives that sustain a feminist and alternative reading of societies. She is the artistic director of KRONE COURONNE, a newly-found space for contemporary art in Biel/Bienne.
Miwa Negoro is a curator based between Berlin and Zurich. Her practice aims at encouraging the fluidity of transcultural, non-binary conditions in the global present. She also engages in performance productions as a researcher and artistic collaborator.